IMO has recognized that provision of reception facilities is crucial for effective MARPOL implementation, and the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has strongly encouraged Member States, particularly those Parties to the MARPOL Convention as port States, to fulfil their treaty obligations on providing adequate reception facilities.
At its 54th session in March 2006, the MEPC emphasized the importance of adequate reception facilities in the chain of implementation of the MARPOL Convention, and stated that the policy of "zero tolerance of illegal discharges from ships" could only be effectively enforced when there were adequate reception facilities in ports. Therefore the Committee urged all Parties to the MARPOL Convention, particularly port States, to fulfil their treaty obligations to provide reception facilities for wastes generated during the normal operation of ships. The Committee also agreed to develop a port reception facility database (PRFD) as a module of the IMO Global Integrated Shipping Information System (GISIS).
At its 56th session in July 2007, the MEPC approved a Revised consolidated format for reporting alleged inadequacy of port reception facilities (see MEPC.1/Circ.469/Rev.1
Action Plan to tackle the inadequacy of port reception facilities
The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) at its 55th session in October 2006 approved an Action Plan to tackle the alleged inadequacy of port reception facilities - seen as a major hurdle to overcome in order to achieve full compliance with MARPOL. The Plan was developed by the Sub-Committee on Flag State Implementation (FSI) in order to contribute to the effective implementation of the MARPOL Convention and to promote quality and environmental consciousness among administrations and shipping.
The Plan contained work items aimed at improving the provision and use of adequate port reception facilities, including work items relating to reporting requirements; provision of information on port reception facilities; identification of any technical problems encountered during the transfer of waste between ship and shore and the standardization of garbage segregation requirements and containment identification; review of the type and amount of wastes generated on board and the type and capacity of port reception facilities; revision of the IMO Comprehensive Manual on Port Reception Facilities; and development of a Guide to Good Practice on Port Reception Facilities. With regard to regional arrangements, the Committee agreed to recognize them as a means of providing reception facilities in light of the MARPOL requirements. However, the Committee will have to consider adopting relevant amendments to the Annexes of MARPOL. Work on the Action Plan was completed by FSI in 2010.
As part of the work on the Action Plan a standard Advance Notification Form was developed to enhance the smooth implementation and uniform application of this requirement, thus minimizing the risk of a ship incurring delay. Also, a standard Waste Delivery Notification form was developed to provide uniformity of records throughout the world. For the Standard Format for the Advance Notification Form see MEPC.1/Circ.644 and for the Standard Format for the Waste Delivery Receipt see MEPC.1/Circ.645.
Also, under its work on the Action Plan, FSI developed the Guide of Good Practice on Port Reception Facilities which provides guidance and easy reference to good practices related to the use and provision of port reception facilities as well as a list of applicable regulations and guidelines (see MEPC.1/Circ.671).